Naplan – up close and personal

Yesterday was the first day for Naplan testing for students in Year 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Yesterday was my first up close experience as a teacher aide supervising Naplan.  Being in my fifth year as a teacher aide I was lucky until this year not to have anything to do with Naplan, except supporting my daughter during year 3 and 5.

I must say as a teacher aide experiencing it for the first time….. it’s boring.  Walking around a room occasionally checking how students are going, picking up sharpers, rubbers, or pencils as they keep knocking them off (pretty sure in the last two days I have done like 50 squats) and being quiet, that is actually hard and not being allowed to help them or even point to something to help them.  The rules are extremely strict and all posters around the room must be taken down or covered.  It is this process I believe that causes students to become anxious.  Not to mention how jumpy the teacher was.  It was her first time in many years and she kept questioning me about the time.  Example we start at 9:20am what is 40mins from now.  I said 10:00am.  She said I was wrong mmmm.  Stressed much.  After much debate she laughed and apologised.  This is a very experienced teacher, counting down the days to her retirement and she was anxious.  The students have handled the last two days extremely well.  This year for the first time in five years, with a new principal, no pressure was put on the students, no heavy practising occurred and the talk about Naplan was minimal.  As a school that has exceptional results in the past (with pressure and practising) I am keen to find out just how the students have gone and if the school keeps their high exceptional results.

Every year around Naplan time, experts come out and speak against, morning shows talk about it and politicians support it.  The students are exposed to these media coverage’s and can make them more anxious and give it more weight then really necessary.  The Today Show had a segment on Naplan which was funny, however it is still putting focus on it.  Kelsey Munro from the Sydney Morning Herald also wrote an article Naplan verdit: Lots of questions, some hard, some fun, once again, putting the focus on it.

As a parent I do not agree with Naplan.  I never pressured my daughter (although at the time her school did).  This test is not going to tell me what kind of person my daughter will become, she needs to The testing has nothing to do with what they learn through the curriculum.  Kimpooler also shares the same opinion as stated in her blog post called Naplan Rookie.  I can relate to the advice she gave her son as it was the same advice I gave to my daughter three years ago.  I also loved the letter that she mentioned in her post which was also mentioned a lot on social media and Mamamia also mentioned it on their website.  I applaud the school who was brave enough to say what we all think out loud as many teachers support it quietly.  If you have not read it, take the time, it is extremely heartfelt.

Tomorrow is the last of the test – numeracy.  So another anxious morning for the teacher who today trust me with the time and I am also in charge of time tomorrow – lucky for the students.

References:

Kimpooler blog.  (2016).  Naplan Rookie.  Retrieved from https://kimpoolerblog1.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/naplan-rookie/

Mamamia.  (2016).  Teachers write a beautiful letter to students ahead of Naplan testing.  Retrieved from http://www.mamamia.com.au/teacher-letter-naplan/

Munro, K.  (2016).  Naplan verdict:  Lot’s of questions, some hard, some fun.  Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/naplan-verdict-lots-of-questions-some-hard-some-fun-20160510-gorro7.html

The Today Show.  (2016)  Retrieved from http://www.9news.com.au/national/2016/05/10/12/43/karl-and-lisa-sit-mock-naplan-test

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